|Coke Blast Furnace|
|Prerequisite||Basic Steam Pump|
|Research Points Needed|
|Building Needed||Iron Workshops|
|Stream||Metal Industry, Industry|
A furnace used to smelt ore efficiently and cheaply, allowing the creation of iron on a large scale.
Iron smelting is traditionally done on a small scale, using charcoal as a fuel for the furnace. Demand for iron is now such that the charcoal burning industry can no longer keep up, simply because there aren't enough trees to be chopped down for fuel! Instead, new methods using coal and, in particular,coke, can produce more iron of better quality.
Coke is coal that has been heated in a confined space so that its volatile components are driven off, producing a carbonized residue. This burns in the same steady fashion as charcoal, and is an ideal fuel for blast furnaces. In these air is forced through as quickly as possible, quickly raising temperature and melting the ore.
Historically, it was English ironmaster Abraham Darby (1678-1717) who discovered coke could be used in blast furnaces, and to better effect than charcoal. His iron was not of good quality but could be produced cheaply. He founded a dynasty of ironmasters who are directly responsible for the new "cast iron age" of the early Industrial Revolution.